From October 8th through the 11th, National Coming Out Week (NCOW) is celebrated on Temple’s campus. The week-long celebration that promotes LGBTQ education and awareness started in the fall of 2008. Since then, the list of events, sponsors and participants has grown exponentially.
Within the last five years, NCOW has created campus and city-wide awareness of the issues faced by the LGBTQ community. Through panel discussions and movie screenings, students at Temple have developed an understanding of what this community faces. The two annual events include NCOW Fest and Come Out, Speak Out. At NCOW Fest, students can obtain different resources from places like the Health Education Awareness Resource Team (HEART) at Temple and Campus Philly. My favorite event, Come Out, Speak Out, allows students, faculty members and guest speakers to share their coming out stories with the audience. It is a powerful event that provides attendees with real examples of strength and adversity from LGBTQ community members.
Each year, NCOW has a theme that focuses on inclusivity, uniqueness and celebrating diversity. This year’s theme is “Be You.” Its message is clear: regardless of your sexual orientation or anything else, celebrate the qualities that make you special. Hopefully, this message helps everyone on Temple’s campus, Philadelphia and around the world celebrate each other’s differences and embrace one another for who we really are.
I have participated and worked on NCOW since its conception. It is truly amazing to see how many people attend the events and leave more informed. NCOW gives all students the necessary resources to adjust healthily to college. Coming to college in a city like Philadelphia means meeting new people, some unlike any others you’ve met before. It’s an adjustment that some may struggle with. NCOW explores some of those difficulties and provides the tools needed to create a more accepting environment throughout campus.
For more information about NCOW, visit ncowequality.com.